Bishop Gwynne College: Bolstering Pastor Training in South Sudan
There are fewer than 200 doctors in South Sudan, and yet there are 200 pastors in Juba, the capital, alone. The average congregation size for Juba is 200, and pastors can be found up and down the country, in rural areas and towns, leading congregations, as well as communities, where government structures are weak or lacking. This gives some sense of the size and influence of the Church of this war-ravaged country.
Whilst this size is incredibly encouraging, the Church lacks depth, training and resources. Most pastors have had no, or very basic training and most congregation members do not own their own bible. AID believes it is crucial to train pastors to correctly teach and apply God’s word, the Bible, and to lead their spiritually hungry nation in a true faith and lives that honour Jesus. Through this South Sudan will see spiritual and physical transformation, for Christ’s glory.
Currently, some Sudanese pastors are trained at Bishop Gwynne College (BGC) in Juba. This has a long-standing history of being a Christian educational institution in South Sudan. It has suffered, like most of the nation, during the two 20-year civil wars, being torn down, deserted and rebuilt. Most faculty members have not had the opportunity to be educated beyond diploma level and this limits the extent of the training which can be offered. Bolstering this existing structure, by training the trainers will be invaluable in strengthening the nation’s Church.
CORE Training and Development, an organisation which works to strengthen churches in Sub-saharan Africa (based at George Whitefield College, Cape Town, South Africa), has come up with a programme to train BGC’s lecturers to a Master or Bachelor degree level. Thus faculty members will not only be able to train pastors to a higher level but also be able to train others to become trainers. This will make the college self-sustainable in the long-term.
God willing, the programme will begin in September 2015 with one lecturer from BGC travelling to South Africa to begin a 3-year Master’s programme. To make up for this loss in teaching staff, GWC will send over 2-3 teachers every 6 weeks to carry out training at BGC in South Sudan. These would be graduates from GWC, Sydney Missionary Bible College and Moore Theological College, Sydney. Each year a new BGC faculty member would travel to South Africa to begin a higher-level training course and after three years they would return, qualified to BGC. In addition the programme will strengthen pastors already at work throughout South Sudan with ‘on the job’ bible training.
Over 10-12 years the hope is that BGC would become self-sustaining. Please pray that God would establish this plan (Proverbs 16:3) and that national insecurity in South Sudan would decrease so that the pastors and teachers may lead peaceful and quiet lives in which they can be trained for God’s ministry.
If you could give to this project please email john or visit our donate page here: (please give to ”Church Strengthening” and specify that the gift is for the Bishop Gwynne College.